UNFC, Govt to Discuss Nationwide Ceasefire

By Khin Oo Tha 29 August 2013

CHIANG MAI, Thailand – A nationwide ceasefire is among topics to be discussed during a meeting between the Burmese government and the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) in early September, members of the council say.

The UNFC, a major ethnic alliance group, also plans to discuss the possibility of drafting a new Constitution, rather than amending the current one, according to Dr. Khin Maung, deputy chairman of the Arakan National Council (ANC), which is part of the UNFC.

The planned meeting with the government’s Union Peacemaking Work Committee (UPWC) will reportedly be held in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai on Sept. 7 or Sept. 8.

“This meeting will be like a pre-negotiation between the government and ethnic leaders for a political framework” said Hla Maung Shwe from the Myanmar Peace Center in Rangoon, who led a government technical team that consulted with UNFC representatives in Chiang Mai on Tuesday. “It is likely that Minister Aung Min will officially receive the UNFC’s framework in the meeting.”

Hla Maung Shwe added that the signing of a nationwide peace accord would be discussed during the September meeting, as part of the government’s plan to end decades of civil wars with ethnic rebel groups.

The consultation meeting on Tuesday covered a number of issues, with an emphasis on discussion topics for the September meeting, says Khin Maung, who led the UNFC team.

“We also talked about our opinion of the president’s statement regarding a nationwide ceasefire and the UNFC’s six-point roadmap to further peace among ethnic groups,” he said.